Pacers fall in four to Aloha
In what turned out to be a very evenly-matched opening round playoff contest, the Lakeridge volleyball team simply couldn't steal momentum back from Aloha once the Warriors found their footing last week.
As a result, the Pacers' terrific season ended with a 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 defeat at home.
Lakeridge got off to a strong start in front of a boisterous home crowd. Lexi Ross had four early kills, accounting for Lakeridge's first four points and Michaela McNairy was also solid early on with a tip and two kills that gave the Pacers an early 8-6 advantage.
Lakeridge then rattled off four straight points on Chelsea Canlas's serve and eventually led 19-13.
Aloha rallied back quickly thanks to good serving by Kimberli Boswell. Still, a handful of miscues by the Warriors gave the Pacers a 24-18 lead in the first game.
Aloha rattled off four straight points before a hitting error gave the Pacers the first set.
Lakeirdge then appeared well on its way to seizing control of the match when it won the first six points of the second game.
But, after a time-out, Aloha rallied back.
The Warriors' block was solid all night and, back-to-back stuffs helped the visitors tie the game at 11-11. Those blocks came in the midst of a 9-1 Aloha run.
The Warriors were also solid at catching the Pacers off guard with second-touch dumps over the net and tips over Lakeridge's big front line.
Boswell was particularly dominant for Aloha and, on her serve late in the second game, she recorded a pair of aces to help seal it and even the match.
Aloha then jumped out to a quick 13-6 lead thanks to kills by Boswell and strong serving from Sarah Bain.
But Lakeridge kept itself in the set with strong play from Ross and Anna Spalding at the net as Spalding used tough angles to come up with kills.
As the Pacers tried to claw back into the third game, service errors killed their momentum, eventually allowing Aloha to take a 23-16 lead.
But Lakeridge ran off six of the next seven points and appeared to be back playing the type of volleyball that gave the team the lead earlier in the match.
Aloha held on for the 25-22 win in the third game which put Lakeridge with its back against the wall.
The Warriors were determined to put the match away early in the fourth game and used good defensive scrambling to take a 6-1 lead.
Strong serving by Sarah Grewenow cut into that lead and kills from Ross, Spalding and Krissy Hengesh helped the Pacers come back to take a 13-12 advantage.
Aloha came up with some crucial side-outs to keep itself in the game and, trailing 18-15, the Warriors then went on a 6-1 run to take the lead.
Lakeridge got back-to-back kills by Hengesh and Rebecca Perkel to tie the game but Aloha then won a pair of terrific points and ended up scoring the final four points of the match to move on in the postseason.
The loss ended another strong season for the Pacers in which they claimed the No. 2 spot in the ultra-competitive Three Rivers League despite only having five seniors on the roster.
Lakeridge will graduate Grewenow, McNairy along with Megan Dunn, Emily Owens and all-league setter Megan Russell but should prove to be a force in league again next season with many of its top contributors returning.
And with West Linn losing virtually its entire team to graduation after this season, the Lions may be more vulnerable at the top of the Three Rivers League than ever before.